Religious Experience and Lay Society in T'ang China

A Reading of Tai Fu's 'Kuang-i chi'

Religious Experience and Lay Society in T'ang China

The remains of Tai Fu's lost collection Kuang-i chi ("The Great Book of Marvels") preserve three hundred short tales of encounters with the other world. Through the eyes of an official, the picture emerges of a complex lay society, served by a mixed priesthood of ritual practitioners. This study develops a style of close reading through which the tales give access to the lives of individuals in eighth-century China, a society embarking on fundamental change.


"The hallmark of this intriguing and provocative study is the immediacy of the voices from T'ang China that Dudbridge is able to enliven and present....Of particular value after the presentation of several texts is the appendix summary of all the extant entries. All interested scholars and students should find this book an exemplar of research." Linada L. Lam-Easton, Religious Studies Review

"...we must also acknowledge the merits of Dudbridge's effort. Chief among these is the value of his book in sharpening our awareness of the inherently blurry line between the fictional and the documentary in medieval accounts of the strange." Don J. Wyatt, American Historical Review